Mumbai, Feb 3: A constellation of yesteryear's stars were invited on stage and honoured for their role in previous World Cups at the Ceat Retro Awards 2011. The ceremony marked a nostalgic way to usher in the upcoming World Cup season as the atmosphere at the gathering was palpable with anticipation.
Former India captain Rahul Dravid, honoured for his contribution in the 1999 edition in England, gave MS Dhoni and Co. the proverbial pat on the back, acknowledging that they were indeed favourites given the kind of cricket the side has played in the last few years. "I like the way MS (Dhoni) chose to describe the pressure being an added responsibility. He has used the right word. It's not pressure but a great privilege to be playing in front of your home crowds and hopefully India should do well," said Dravid.
Former Pakistan all-rounder Wasim Akram explained how his team of 1992 made the World Cup theirs in Australia. "We walked from our hotel to the venue of the final to find Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan singing in our dressing room. We all had lunch together as well. We felt light and that was a great start for us. I guess, that how one should approach the World Cup."
Recounting the golden days of the 1975 and 1979 editions, former West Indies opening legend Gordon Greenidge said the key to their success was that they knew their responsibilities too well. "We had players who knew what was expected of them," said Greenidge. On what advice he had for the present team, he suggested they try hard to jell as a team.
India's World Cup man Kapil Dev wished Dhoni and his boys all the glory, reminding as always to go out there and enjoy the game. "Just ensure that your best effort is there. My heart says let the best team win, but I do hope that India does it," quipped Kapil
Australia's Cup winning member of 2007 Matthew Hayden felt that skipper Ricky Ponting shoudl encourage all his players to have say towards their preparation of each match. "They should also have some characters to keep the dressing room in good cheer," said Hayden.
The man who made the World Cup triumph a reality for Sri Lanka in 1996, Aravinda de Silva, gave the thumbs up to Kumar Sangakkara and his team to lift the trophy once again. "We have the right balance in the team and the players to excel in the sub-continent conditions," said the man who set the Eden Gardens on fire during the World Cup semifinal in 1996.
The following were the winners of Retro Ceat cricket rating awards: Glenn Turner (1975), Gordon Greenidge (1979), Kapil Dev (1983), Geoffrey Marsh (1987), Wasim Akram (1992), Aravinda de Silva (1996), Rahul Dravid (1999), Sourav Ganguly (2003), Matthew Hayden (2007).
Australia's Shane Watson won the Ceat International Cricketer of The Year Award for 2011 while the Australian team was the Ceat Team of The Year Award 2011.